One question we get asked all the time is “how hard is the Kokoda Track?”

The Kokoda Track is difficult – it is mentally and physically challenging, thanks to the humidity, the steep ups & downs, the rain and the mud.

However, some people find the Kokoda Track less hard thanks to the training they put in beforehand. In order to enjoy the Kokoda trekking experience, you need ENDURANCE.

What is ENDURANCE and how will it help me on my trek?

Endurance, in relation to trekking, is the ability to keep walking over difficult terrain, for long periods of time.

Endurance enables the trekker to resist, withstand and recover from fatigue and injury.

For many trekkers, completing the Track is a significant personal achievement.

Occasionally, trekkers finish the trek and state that it was easier than they were lead to believe. This means that they were adequately prepared, had an solid level of endurance and remained healthy.

If you are physically prepared before you begin your Kokoda Track trek, everything usually falls into place and you will enjoy your Kokoda trekking experience.

Factors that contribute to making trekking the Kokoda Track hard

  • Occasional extreme levels of heat, humidity and rainfall;
  • Continuous, steep, up and down sections, some lasting in excess of 5 hours;
  • Slippery, uneven sections of trail;
  • Constantly varying creek and river crossing conditions;
  • Sections of trail consisting of ankle deep, sticky, heavy mud;
  • Daily walking times averaging approximately 5.5 hours;
  • Walking times on some days may last 8 hours or more;
  • Constant attention to foot placement;
  • No contact with the outside world; (except in emergency situations)
  • Basic amenities in campsites

Every trekking season, inadequately prepared trekkers are evacuated from the Track. We do our best to limit the number of these by providing a training and preparation guide and have an in-house fitness expert to answer any questions that future trekkers may have.

Plus, Brisbane trekkers can join in endurance training sessions with us on any given Saturday as we prepare for the Track (more information below).

Our Australian trek leaders also contribute to this success with caring, professional leadership which includes maintaining high safety and health standards within their trekking teams. Our sensible itinerary is also a major contributing factor to our success. It is the best. A proven, sensible mix of exertion with time for recuperation

How fit do I need to be?

Pictured: preparing for a trek, part of our Brisbane group at Mt Coot-tha on a Sunday. Trek leader and trainer, Ray Baker, far right

The higher your level of endurance, the more you will enjoy the experience. Our Trek Leader and Back Track Director, Ray Baker, runs regular endurance training sessions in Brisbane on Saturday for anyone booked on ANY Back Track trip.

Your personal endurance training program should commence as soon as you book your trek. Once committed, make your Kokoda Track endurance preparation part of your daily lifestyle.

  • Firstly, you should evaluate your current health and fitness situation. Over many years we have had people say to us they are fit because their job requires them to be ‘active’, or, they are fit because they are ‘on their feet’ and walking around all day. This may only prove that they are fit enough for their job.
  • For many potential trekkers, the endurance level required to undertake a challenging trek is beyond their level of experience to gauge. If you have doubts about your current endurance level and therefore your ability to complete the Track, we encourage you to contact us by email or phone. We are always happy, ready and willing to assist.
  • With your health, consider your age, old sports injuries, bad knees, sore ankles and the like. A doctor should always be consulted and a medical check-up is highly recommended before undertaking any difficult trek or commencing any training schedule.

If you are not participating in some form of regular cardiovascular exercise either within a sporting team or within a personal training regime, it may well be that you are not fit enough at this stage to enjoy the Kokoda experience. When you book a Kokoda Track trek with Back Track, a detailed, simple to follow 3-month Endurance Training Schedule is provided in your Confirmation Kit. This Schedule illustrates how to start your own personal walking training program, wherever you live. As an absolute minimum, a 3 month, personal walking program is required.

In addition, Back Track has a 1300 Kokoda Assist phone number. This number immediately puts you in contact with an experienced Kokoda Leader who is only too happy to assist you with any questions you have during your pre-trip preparations and assist in designing a program for you. Remember, it may take you more than the minimum 3 months most people require as a minimum to achieve a good level of endurance.

In summary

If you have endurance, everything usually falls into place. You may be cold, wet, tired, hungry, lonely, despondent, feeling ill or carrying a slight injury at some stage during the trek. The effects of these setbacks can be eased if you have endurance.

Team Pow Wow do the Kokoda Challenge 2013In your preparation, be tough on yourself. Set your training goals and stick to them. If it means getting up earlier to train, then do it. If it means dieting, cutting back on alcohol, coffee etc, then do it. If it means forfeiting social engagements, then do it. Don’t compromise with yourself under any circumstances. Every additional step you take and every sacrifice you make will pay incredible dividends for you somewhere on the Track.

The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the Track. After completing the trek, you will be able to take this new level of fitness with you back into your everyday life. By continuing a sensible health and fitness regime, you will enrich your life.

Everyday people trek the Kokoda Track every day. Over the many years, we have been on the Track, Back Track trekkers have had a lot of fun … come with us, just do it!

The sense of achievement can’t be put into words.

Click through to our Testimonials Page to read for yourself past Back Track Kokoda trekkers’ experiences.